The Most Influential Arizona Punk Records: #5 - Meat Puppets, Untitled Seven-Inch EP
The amount of pride many of us Phoenicians have in the success of the Meat Puppets is beyond measure. From the standpoint of being part of the "other" scene -- the underground, college rock, or whatever you want to call it -- it was always a point of pride to see the Meat Puppets written up in cool magazines or mentioned by the cream of the crop in the punk and indie rock world as influences.
The Puppets were the local boys that did really well nationally -- at least at first -- in the "alternative" underground. Sure, JFA made a name for themselves and still play skate punk better than anybody, but the Meat Puppets were a collision of genres and a collage of sound, lights, and hair. Of their Arizona contemporaries, the Meat Puppets did it bigger -- and in many cases better -- than anybody else. While the band quickly branched off and essentially distanced themselves from their punk rock roots, their first seven-inch, often referred to as "In a Car," is amazing, totally rockin', and to at least one of their alt-rock peers, highly influential.
"People thought we were a Meat Puppets rip-off at first," said J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.
In an interview with New Times earlier this year, the subject of the Meat Puppets came up, and the East Coast guitar god lit up like a youngster talking about his favorite superheroes.
"The Meat Puppets' first record was pretty amazing to us when it came out." Mascis says.
Truth be told, there is a lot of similarity between the early Dinosaur Jr stuff and early Meat Puppets material. While "rip-off" might be strong, there definitely is something to Mascis' enthusiasm for the Meat Puppets, especially when it comes to their first seven-inch EP.
As previously mentioned, fans commonly call the seven-inch "In a Car," but there actually isn't an official title. Cris Kirkwood played bass and sang on the recording, joined by drummer Derrick Bostrom and Cris' brother, Curt Kirkwood, on guitar and vocals.
"'In a Car' was basically a payment by the group Monitor [amazing L.A. post-punk art rock trio] who wanted us to track their song 'Hair' for their album. They said, 'Come in and do our song and you can record a song of yours.' This was at their studio in Silver Lake [California, near Hollywood]," Bostrom says.
Monitor had their own label, World Imitation Records, and signed the Meat Puppets to their first recording contract, which came as some surprise to the Meat Puppets when it was offered.